Myanmar’s LGBTIQ Community Faces Death and Torture From Junta
By The Irrawaddy 1 July 2021
At least 12 LGBTIQ community members have been killed by regime forces and another 73 arrested or charged since the junta’s coup for fighting against dictatorship and striving for equality, according to a report from the National Unity Government (NUG).
On Wednesday, the NUG’s Ministry of Human Rights and Ministry of Women, Youths and Children’s Affairs released the situation report of the LGBTIQs after the military coup in Myanmar, in celebration of Pride Month which recognizes the valuable contributions made by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people.
LGBTIQ groups in Myanmar have actively participated in anti-regime protests since the start of the pro-democracy movement in February. The most visible sign of their participation are the rainbow flags that have been waved among the crowds at anti-coup demonstrations nationwide.
As crackdowns, violence and torture against pro-democracy activists and civilians has intensified in the past few months, many LGBTIQ people across Myanmar have faced severe human rights violations, with some killed, tortured or detained by the military regime.
Between Feb. 1 and June 20, at least 12 LGBTIQ people from Myitkyina, Myingyan, Monywa, Mawlamyine, Yangon, Kyaukpadaung, and Mandalay were shot dead by junta forces while participating in peaceful protests and defending protesters from military violence, the report stated.
Three gay men and one transgender woman from Myingyan and Bago were also seriously injured by junta forces, according to the report.
Of the 73 LGBTIQ people arrested, 65 are still being detained. Another 28 are in hiding to avoid arrest, the report stated.
The NUG report noted that transgender people who have been arrested have experienced different forms of sexual harassment while in police custody, or being held in detention by regime forces, because of their visible identity as LGBTIQ people.
It quoted a 50-year transgender woman in Yangon who was arrested and severely tortured by junta forces.
The woman was beaten on their back, shoulders and head, stripped naked and forced to kneel down all the time. Their nipples were also burned with the tips of burning cigarettes and had paper clips attached to them, while a bottle was inserted into their anus.
“After they were happy with burning my nipples and inserting a bottle in my anus, and when they were about to sleep, they made me leapfrog. The compound is very wide and I could do that and they made me hold my two hands between my thighs and made me twist around and I was kept the whole day with dust and mud on me,” the woman was quoted as saying.
Those injuries took a month to heal, the transgender woman said.
In addition, many of the gay and transgender detainees who are being treated for HIV with antiretroviral therapy are unable to access their medication as they are scared about revealing their health status to the officials detaining them, the report said.
Civil society organizations representing LGBTIQ groups stressed that members of the LGBTIQ community actively participating in the anti-regime movement faced harsh retaliation and transphobic attacks from junta forces.
However, the groups vowed that they will never give up contributing to the revolution in acquiring equality for all.
The NUG has called on the international community to put pressure on the Myanmar military to immediately end the violence against all civilians, including LGBTIQ people, as well as calling for the release of all detainees and for the provision of the necessary psycho-social support upon their release.
It also urged the international community to support and engage with their work on the protection and promotion of human rights for all people, including the LGBTIQ community.
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